It would be an utter crime to upset the natural beauty of NZ’s South Island with overbearing design, and this boutique hotel strikes a harmonious balance between the holistic and the hip. Positioned amid some of the world’s most dramatic topography, the Queenstown Park Hotel strives not to compete with its surroundings — how could you even begin to outshine a mountain range dubbed “The Remarkables” — but effortlessly blends into the landscape, both visually and ecologically.
While timber, glass and stone dominate the property’s somewhat masculine exterior, interiors show a softer side, thanks entirely to the sensitive touch of local designers Comber & Smith. Rooms are light-filled, with unfussy interiors flowing into private outdoor nooks, a terrace or patio attached to every room.
Views here aren’t optional: you either get one of The Remarkables or one of the mountains directly behind the property. The Tower Suite, located in the property’s stone turret, boasts vistas of both, in case you just can’t decide. This one also features a full kitchen, in contrast with the kitchenettes elsewhere, and flat-screen TVs, underfloor heating and free wifi are standard throughout. For those wanting to drink in more than just scenery, complimentary canapes and wine are served in the lounge before dinner, with gourmet picnic hampers available to guests who want to take their fine dining into the great outdoors.
It’s just as much substance as style. The QPH exhibits a progressive attitude towards sustainable hospitality. With only 19 rooms, its impact on carbon levels is by default less guilt-inducing than that of the big hotels, but the QPH takes it further, going local for its produce, using cruelty-free toiletries, recycling waste materials, abstaining from chemical cleaning and using sensor lighting in common areas.
All this would probably be enough, yet the QPH has even more to court visitors, namely its warm New Zealand service and a top location just across the park from Queenstown proper. Wakatipu Lake is a five-minute walk away and the gondola that scales the mountain range less than two.